Having confirmed the new 10.00am start-time for A Level courses, Havant & South Downs College will be looking into the effects of teenage sleep patterns on students in comparison to the traditional 9.00am start time.
“We are very excited to work with Havant & South Downs College in a teenage sleep study that is the first of its kind in the country. We are looking forward to working closely with the Biology and Psychology departments within the College to track sleep diary data from a group of students, both this academic year with the 9.00am start and next year once the 10.00am start is brought in.”
- Dr Rachel Sharman, Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute, University of Oxford
The Teensleep Project was funded by the Education Endowment Foundation and the Wellcome Trust, in order to evaluate the benefits occurring in students’ academic attainment through school-based intervention. Academic research shows that teenagers experience changes to their circadian rhythms – this means that not only do they need more sleep, they also naturally wake up and go to sleep later.
Director of Curriculum for A Levels, Sylvia Wear, said: 'We have implemented the new start time to ensure that our students stay engaged and enthusiastic about learning at College. As an A Level Centre of Excellence, our role is to equip our learners with the necessary skills for university learning, for example by lengthening our lessons and holding more classes in the lecture theatre. It is also to provide connections with the top universities and encourage our learners to partake in research projects such as this one, which is why the Teensleep Project is such a good fit'.
A-Level students Jake Reeve and Sam Brown are helping to collect the data for the new sleep study.
Sam, who studies Maths, Chemistry and Biology and has an offer from the University of Cambridge to study Medicine next year, said: 'My Biology lecturer told me about a sleep study and asked me if I wanted to be involved, and of course I said yes. We have great support from the College to be involved in this while keeping up with our own revision and I think it is worth putting the time in because it’s a great opportunity.'
Jake, who studies Maths, Psychology and Biology and has an offer from the University of Oxford to study Experimental Psychology, said: 'Sleep affects a lot of people and I think there are many problems especially with teenage sleep patterns, so I am keen to be involved in finding any way to help with that.'